Top 10 Dunkers in the Big Ten with Video Highlights Included
While the Big Ten may be known for being more of a grind-it-out defensive type conference, there are still plenty of great athletes in what should be the nation's top league this upcoming season.
Not only are all the players on this list great dunkers, but they are all top notch players in the Big Ten. In the videos shown here, they will show off their extreme athleticism through a variety of slam dunks.
Take a moment to watch each of the ten videos, you won't be disappointed. Also, my apologies go out to Drew Crawford and Melsahn Basabe. Both were deserving of making the list, but I could not find a quality video of them showcasing their dunking ability.
10. Jordan Morgan
Morgan snuck into the top 10 list not solely on the quality of his dunks, but rather based on the quantity. Morgan is a big, big man, but lacks a natural back to the basket post game. A good majority of his baskets come off dunks, usually with his left hand (although he shoots right handed).
Morgan doesn't have the ability to create baskets for himself, so he is usually the beneficiary of passes from players like Trey Burke (as shown above). In either case, expect to see a few rim rattlers every time Morgan is on the court.
9. Tim Hardaway Jr.
Morgan's teammate, Hardaway Jr. checks in at the ninth position. As a freshman, Hardaway Jr. and Darius Morris created a backcourt duo that produced plenty of highlight reel plays, as each player was explosive cutting to the basket.
Hardaway Jr. shied away from driving to the hoop as much his sophomore year, although Burke isn't quite as good of a passer as Morris was. Nevertheless, Hardaway Jr. has shown the ability to thrown down the hammer, just like he does here against Indiana.
8. Adreian Payne
Although Payne has expanded his game and improved upon his jump shot, he certainly still can dunk with the best of them. As a power forward/center, Payne plays around the hoop but also uses his lengthy wingspan to dominate smaller post players.
Although Draymond Green will be sorely missed in East Lansing this year, Payne and another Spartan highlighted later in this list are reasons for optimism. After all, Tom Izzo believes their team will be more athletic this year than they were a year ago.
7. Trevor Mbakwe
First of all, I apologize for the quality of this video but it was the best I could come up with. This video should be reason for excitement in Minneapolis though, given that Mbakwe will be back for a sixth and final collegiate season this winter.
Mbakwe is a beast on the boards, as evidenced by him grabbing a rebound to a shot that was released when he was still behind the the three-point line. When Mbakwe dunks, the rim shakes. He's just part of the reason that Minnesota may have the most athletic frontcourt in the nation.
6. Brandon Paul
Although this video of Paul came during his freshman season, the senior still throws down dunks with regularity in Champaign when he attacks the hoop. The key words in that last sentence were "when he attacks the hoop."
After his 43-point performance against Ohio State, Paul started settling for way too many contested jump shots and three-pointers. If he can get back to his slashing ways, Illinois may surprise a few people including myself.
5. Will Sheehey
This video also came from Sheehey's freshman season, although he is only a junior now. In the video, he jumps over fellow high-flyer Melsahn Basabe, who would have also made this list had I found a decent dunking video of him.
Sheehey erases all stereotypes in this video and may be the second best athlete on the entire Hoosier squad. Plays like this will help him get playing time this season, something that may be hard to come by with such a talented roster.
4. Joseph Bertrand
Bertrand is the second Fighting Illini player to make this list. As Gus Johnson says in this video, "Bertrand jumps to the heavens." Bertrand did plenty of this in leading Illinois back during the team's incredible comeback last December against Missouri, although they fell short in the end.
Although he only stands 6'5", Bertrand found himself playing plenty of power forward for Illinois last season. Whether coach John Groce plays Bertrand at a guard or forward position, fans always need to keep an eye out for this redshirt junior.
3. Branden Dawson
Dawson really makes it look like throwing a windmill dunk is no big deal, and although I personally cannot attest to it, Clark Kellogg's description of the dunk as "videogame-like" seems absolutely appropriate. Dawson, a freshman at the time, later tore his ACL last season.
Hopefully Dawson has a full recovery from such a scary injury because I for one would love to see more of these types of dunks. Dawson could be one of the more improved players in the league this year and will have to take on some of Draymond Green's role.
2. Victor Oladipo
Other than Christian Watford's buzzer-beating three-pointer to beat the then unbeaten Kentucky Wildcats, Oladipo's dunk has to be the second best play of that game. While it wasn't Anthony Davis that Oladipo dunked over, it should be noted that Darius Miller was the 46th pick in last year's draft.
While Oladipo still has plenty of room to improve as a basketball player, I'm not so sure he can improve his already spectacular athleticism. He is a defensive stopper, who if he can improve his outside shot as well as finishing around the hoop, could become a complete player.
1. Rodney Williams
Williams has had so many highlight reel dunks during his first three seasons as a Golden Gopher that I couldn't pick just one to post as his video. After you watch Williams' video, thus ending the article, feel free to spend time continuing to watch this senior fly through the air and throw it down.
Like Oladipo, Williams is a terrific defender who needs work on his outside game. My personal favorite from the video above is his 360-dunk, although there are so many good ones to choose from. As long as Williams continues to be aggressive toward the hoop this season, the rims will be shaking at The Barn.